This National Eye Health Week, we’re going to tell you what you need to know about eye health!
It’s important to be aware of different eye conditions, why a regular sight test is essential and your risk factors.
Did you know that if you have any eye health concerns, you should speak with your optician?
Common eye health conditions
As we age, our eyesight and eye health naturally change.
However, there are also other risk factors that affect eye health which we’ll highlight shortly.
When our eye health is poor as a result of these factors, we are more likely to develop an eye condition.
In some cases, poor eye health and eye conditions can cause sight loss.
As a result, this can affect a person’s independence and increase their risk of falls.
That’s why it’s important to know what to keep an eye out for and how to look after your eyes.
So, here’s what you need to know about eye health conditions:
⚫️ Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is one of many types of macular disease.
⚫️ AMD causes a blind spot in your central field of vision and usually, it doesn’t affect peripheral vision.
⚫️ Common symptoms of AMD include visual distortions, such as straight lines looking wavy.
⚫️ Over time your vision can worsen and it can affect your ability to do things such as read, drive and recognise faces.
You can find out more about AMD here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.
Did you know?
It’s possible to train your eyes to increase the span of vision and use peripheral vision to read.
This is the same technique that speed reading uses. Over time, the eye becomes better at using peripheral vision to see detail.
As a result, it can help a person living with AMD to continue enjoying hobbies and safely navigate their surroundings.
⚫️ A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside your eye, resulting in cloudy, blurry or dim vision.
⚫️ The condition can gradually interfere with your vision and make it difficult to see detail clearly.
⚫️ With time, a cataract can develop and it may require an operation to help restore sight.
⚫️ Better lighting and glasses can initially help improve a person’s level of vision.
You can read more about cataracts here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.
Did you know?
As a cataract develops slowly, it can be difficult to spot it – but a sight test can!
⚫️ Glaucoma can cause ‘tunnel’ vision due to damage to the optic nerve.
⚫️ The condition is usually the result of a build-up of pressure in the eye which damages the optic nerve.
⚫️ The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and treated, the lower the chance of irreversible sight loss.
⚫️ Usually, eye drops are used to treat glaucoma, but sometimes an operation is needed.
You can read more about glaucoma here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.
Did you know?
Although glaucoma tends to be due to high eye pressure, it’s possible to develop glaucoma even if your eye pressure is within the normal range.
This is known as normal-tension glaucoma.
⚫️ Diabetic retinopathy is a form of diabetic eye disease and it occurs when blood vessels at the back of the eye are damaged.
⚫️ The longer someone has diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar levels, the higher the chance of developing this eye complication.
⚫️ If left untreated it can cause blurred or reduced vision, which can lead to blindness.
⚫️ If you have diabetes, you should attend your diabetic screening appointment as treatment is available if the condition is caught early.
You can read more about diabetic retinopathy here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.
Did you know?
As early detection of diabetic retinopathy can reduce your risk of vision loss by 95%, it’s important to attend your diabetic screening and have a regular sight test.
How are eye conditions diagnosed and monitored?
A sight test can help to identify and monitor any eye health conditions that you may have.
That’s because most symptoms are only visible with professional equipment.
Having a regular sight test can help to identify an eye condition as early as possible.
Depending on the condition, early identification can help to increase the success of treatment.
Although treatment may be unable to cure a condition, it may reduce symptoms and prevent further sight loss.
However, once vision loss occurs, the damage is often irreversible.
So, having a regular sight test is important to help you see better and live better for longer.
Your risk factors of developing an eye condition
While anyone can develop an eye condition, there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk.
Age and any family history of eye disease can increase the likelihood of having an eye condition at some point in life.
Additionally, lifestyle is also a considerable risk factor, which includes exercise, diet, smoking and drinking.
You can find out more about your eye health risk using an eye health calculator. However, please remember that this is only an estimate.
If you have any questions or concerns about your eye health, you should speak with your optician.
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